New milestone reached on future Olympic Village elementary school

Feb 24 2021, 12:00 pm

There is some new movement on the plan to provide the Olympic Village in the Southeast False Creek neighbourhood with a new additional elementary school.

Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver School Board (VSB) announced today they have approved entering into a 99-year lease for the school site.

The site is located on the east side of Hinge Park, within an open grass parcel at the southwest corner of the intersection of Athletes Way and Columbia Street — the east side of the 2010-built Olympic Village. This location aligns with the city’s 2007-approved Southeast False Creek Official Development Plan, which called for a future elementary school at this specific site.

olympic village elementary school location

Site of the future Olympic Village elementary school. (City of Vancouver)

Olympic Village elementary school

The large open grassy site at Hinge Park in Vancouver’s Olympic Village is slated to become an elementary school and daycare. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Based on the VSB’s latest facilities plan, this new Kindergarten to Grade 7 school will have 510 seats. There will also be a childcare facility, which will be subleased by the VSB back to the municipal government over the duration of the lease.

“Building schools in Vancouver’s growing communities is important so that children can attend school in their own neighbourhoods,” said Carmen Cho, an NPA school trustee and the chair of the Vancouver School Board, in a statement.

“The Southeast False Creek/Olympic Village community, which has and continues to experience significant population growth, now has a site available and we appreciate the collaborations with the City of Vancouver.”

This latest milestone was fuelled by the momentum of the BC NDP’s promise to build the new Olympic Village school in their election campaign last fall.

Now that the site is secured, the VSB will formally apply to the BC Ministry of Education for capital funding for the construction of the school. Under the proposed terms of the lease agreement, funding must be obtained and construction must start no later than the end of January 2024. The terms of the lease agreement will be finalized over the coming months.

Both the municipal government and the VSB are also currently working on the project to build a new 320-seat elementary school next to Coal Harbour Community Centre within a mixed-use complex that also includes 69 childcare spaces and 60 units of social housing.

480 Broughton Street Vancouver Coal Harbour Elementary School Social Housing

Conceptual artistic rendering of the Coal Harbour Elementary School and social housing building complex at 480 Broughton Street. (Henriquez Partners Architects/City of Vancouver)

A Fall 2023 completion is targeted for the Coal Harbour school location, but it will be several years more before it creates new elementary school capacity, as it will act as the temporary new school for relocated students from the Lord Roberts Annex site. The West End school will be demolished for a new underground BC Hydro substation, and a new replacement school will be built over the utility infrastructure.

There is a gross shortage of elementary school capacity in and around the downtown peninsula, resulting in long wait lists. Increasingly, students have been forced to go to other school catchment areas due to the shortage in spaces, as a result of supply not keeping up with the area’s dense residential development.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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